Israel's security cabinet convened on Sunday to discuss Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with additional Israeli humanitarian aid to Ukraine and efforts to rescue Israelis from the country being on the agenda.
In the meeting Bennett said that Israel continues to be in daily contact with both the United States and Russia, and shared his assessment that Israel has been successfully balancing the expectations of both sides. The U.S. and Europe have been understanding regarding Israel's position on the conflict and relations have not been harmed, he said.
Ministers were asked to continue keeping a low profile regarding the subject in interviews.
The foreign ministry discussed the expected vote on a U.S.-led resolution condemning Russia at the UN General Assembly, which Israel is expected to support.
The cabinet is also expected to discuss the phone call earlier on Sunday between Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
After the phone call, the Prime Minister’s Office released a terse statement saying merely that the two “discussed the situation between Russia and Ukraine.” The Kremlin, however, said Israel had offered to serve as a mediator in talks with Ukraine.
Israel has good ties with both Moscow and Kyiv, and Bennett has been publicly restrained in remarks about the fighting in Ukraine.
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According to a diplomatic source, Bennett voiced fears that the fighting would worsen and cause more humanitarian suffering. The source said Putin expressed willingness to negotiate, and Bennett said that Israel was ready to help resolve the crisis at any time if both sides requested it.
Shortly afterward, Ukraine announced that it would hold talks with Russia at the border with Belarus.
In a Facebook post on Sunday, the Russian Embassy in Israel commented on Israel’s public expression of support for Ukraine.
"Our Israeli colleagues have repeatedly spoken about their concern for the safety of their citizens and the Jewish community in Ukraine.
"At the same time, we express hope that Israel will show a wise and diplomatic approach as well as treat with due understanding the reasons that prompted the Russian leadership to decide to conduct a special military operation to protect civilians in Donbass, demilitarize and denazify Ukraine," the statement read.